Late Thursday afternoon the phone rang. I grabbed the receiver and continued with dinner preparations. "Hello?"
"Hi, Cindee? This is Lisa. I have the reports from Sam's last round of tests. Sorry it took so long, but we had to run a couple of them twice to be sure."
I took a deep breath and sat down, knowing immediately that whatever Lisa had to say I didn't want to hear. One more disease. One more diagnosis kids Sam's age don't get. One more name I couldn't understand until Lisa spelled it out. Nothing insurmountable. Nothing life threatening. Just more. More to learn and teach my son. More for him to process and accept. More I didn't expect and definitely didn't want. More that followed an entire day of more testing at Children's Hospital with my youngest. Again, nothing insurmountable or life threatening, just more, and I longed for someone to hear my weary mama's heart, so I poured it out in an email to my small group.
"I'm so tired. The medical stuff is starting to suffocate me. I spent most of today at Children's with Megan. So many tests, so much more information than my head could absorb, and now I'm trying to wrap my mind around Sam's new liver disease and what that means. I know it's good to know -- necessary -- but I want a break from all the meds, from insurance paperwork and jumping through hoops, from trying to understand another disease, from working through the emotions of it all with each child involved. I know this shouldn't be a big deal. I know God will see me through. He always does. I trust Him, but I'm tired."
"Oh bless you, friend!" came the first response. "I weep for you. I know I can't take the pain and feel helpless. Please know that I plead with God for you and your family. I know He doesn't need my pleading, and is already acting in complete love and understanding, but I will not stop asking Him for relief for you."
"Please don't feel guilty for what you call complaining. Sometimes what we see as complaining is what others need to see and hear. It keeps us from pride, shows our humility, our weakness, our realness."
"I continue to pray for you and your family, sometimes with just moans and groans because I just don't know what to pray."
Hearts of compassion. No pat answers. No simple solutions. Just friends who care standing with me in the pain. That's the blessing of hope and the incomparable gift of love, born of compassion and freely offered, for sometimes the absolute best we can give is the willingness to listen, quietly and without judgment, good or bad, without interruption or easy answers or quick solutions, without offering our opinions or interjecting our own personal stories, simply, graciously, patiently offering time and space, unhurried and uncensored, for another's heart to be heard.
Lord, teach me to listen with my heart, to offer no pat answers, but simply, only, always the beautiful, perfect, priceless gift of You instead. Amen.
Cindee Snider Re lives in Sussex, WI with her husband, their five children, two cats, and two Shichon puppies. She enjoys quiet evenings, long walks, good books, homeschooling her kids, and lots of good, strong, hot, black tea.